As an athlete, testosterone levels play a pivotal role in your performance and recovery. This anabolic hormone has a direct effect on muscle mass, sleep quality and metabolic rate. You’d quite literally be nothing without it. The internet is plagued with supplements and hacks that can see shortcuts to higher testosterone, but most of these are crap. Whilst Training legs to boost testosterone might not be a shortcut, it’s still an interesting thought.
Could leg day, the day which so many people fear, actually provide greater benefits that just jacked up quads and an a more explosive start to sprints?
Importance of Leg Workouts
There’s two camps when it comes to training legs. There’s those that love it, and those that generally hate it. Let me start by saying I don’t like it as much as upper body. Training legs for me, is a nauseating and sore experience. When I do it right anyway.
Source: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc
But, the importance of stepping into the squat rack is something that I have taught myself the value of. Beyond the way my legs look in in shorts, and more focused around the way they perform the rest of the time. Plus what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
#1 Training legs creates a balanced and powerful looking physique. You see countless memes on the internet of the guys with pin legs. On every ‘Gym Humor’ Facebook page there’s counltess reminders ‘not to skip leg day’. This is for a reason. Not training legs leads to an imbalanced and embarrassing physique. For some though, this might not be reason enough to battle through leg day twice a week.
#2 Legs are the source of power in a massive number of sports. Without them, you sacrifice a massive amount of mobility and ‘ground reaction force’. Think of boxing for example, could you imagine the difference in power if a boxer was fixed in his upper half? Nearly every coach you’ll speak to, in nearly every sport would stress them importance of strong legs.
#3 Legs burn more calories than any other body part. Your legs contain the most muscle out of any body part. Simply put, to work legs you require a high amount of energy when means you’ll be burning extra calories when you train.
Training legs for more testosterone
Now, this is where training legs goes from ‘a good idea’ to something that you NEED to be doing. And doing twice a week if you can. Whatever your sport or discipline, legs should be a fundamental part of your training.
Workout out your wheels has been proven to increase testosterone. But, additionally, it can also see increases in other crucial anabolic hormones that promote muscle growth and improve performance.
Don’t just take my word for this though. A study  on a group of male athletes made them run four arm sessions per week for an 11 week period. On two of those arm workouts they were asked to incorporate leg training first.
The results were pretty conclusive. They found that anabolic hormones were much higher on the days they trained legs.
Which leg exercises work best?
To get the best anabolic response to training legs, you need to be squatting. This compound movement, performed at 5-8 reps per set, with a 45 second rest time, will get those hormones pumping.
Once again, this was found in a study that compared free weights to to machine weights. The conclusion was “free weight exercises seem to induce greater hormonal responses to resistance exercise than machine weight exercises using similar lower-body multi-joint movements and primary movers” .
Leg workouts are vital to build strength and power. You move into the hole when you squat down to full depth, before you drive the weight back upwards again. Think about when you catch a Snatch at the lowest position, or reach full depth on a front Squat for example, that is the hole.
It is at this point, that you MUST HAVE explosive power and strength in order to control the weight, stand up again, and complete the movement. These 6 ways will help you build explosive strength and power out of the hole, and are highly beneficial for improving any of the following exercises:
- Clean & Jerk
- Squat Clean
- Front Squat
- Back Squat
- Overhead Squat
LEG WORKOUTS – ACCESSORY WORK:
1. DEAD SQUATS
With Dead Squats, you begin the movement already in the hole, and then explode upwards to finish the Squat and complete the exercise. Here, your body is instantly placed in a physically stressful position – fully loaded and already in the hole – and forces you to activate your core, legs and body.
- Positioning is vital: take the time to position your feet correctly; as once you take the weight of the bar and control it with your own body, you will have little opportunity to correct your form.
- The primary objective here is speed and power. Stand up quickly and explode back up to a standing position. Start this with the empty barbell whilst you get the hang of the movement and how it feels to load the bar from this position.
- emma mcquaid: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc
- Leg-workouts: Stevie D Photography